Friday, March 21, 2008

This sounds scarey

Orin Kerr, at The Volokh Conspiracy, has a piece about "Fake Hyperlinks Used in FBI Child Pornography Stings". We could imagine getting a spam email, say, with such a link, and without much thought clicking on it. That could you mean that the next morning, before dawn, you would have an assault team breaking down your front door and arresting you and confiscating, at least, your computer. I would guess that they would have hard to distinguish from home invaders (at least in the Dallas area). Suppose you tried to resist, thinking that they were criminals, and you are shot and killed? You get a URL-encoded link, so that they know from which email account the link was clicked. Talk about a police state. The person being arrested has not clicked on a link that would actually produce a nasty child pornography video file. The link is broken, but you are busted anyway, just for clicking a link with a bad file name ("4yosuck"). Why not go after the people who are doing bad things to young girls and making videos? Child Pornography is the "new war on drugs". There is the same overreaching in the name of doing good that caused Randy Weaver's wife to be shot and killed at Ruby Ridge (by the same people, the FBI) and the Branch Davidians to be burnt alive at Waco. I don't see how this will be fixed, either. We keep adding new crimes and increasing the penalties by orders of magnitude. that is why you see the goofy things like $250 fines for getting caught by a red light camera. "We are going to show them", for doing whatever wrong thing that they did. Once we are all sold on something being "bad", we jack up the penalties. The new Dallas District Attorney, despite not being ready for a job with this much scrutiny, is on to something. He wanted to stop the over-prosecution of black men in Dallas county and to free as many of them as possible who could be proved to be innocent by DNA tests. He has freed a good number of black men who now seem to have been wrongly convicted. The assumption had been made in the past that if it was a black man, there was the assumption of guilt. He had to prove his innocence beyond a shadow-of-doubt to keep from being convicted. The problem has spread, if anything.

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